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South Africa ready for CHAN return leg with Lesotho

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South Africa ready for CHAN second leg against Lesotho - Sports Leo

National Under-23 coach David Notoane expressed his disappointment after South Africa lost 3-2 to Lesotho in a 2020 African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifying match at the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru on Sunday but was confident of victory in the return leg this weekend.

Notoane was asked to take charge of the senior team for this competition, which is restricted to locally-based players only so that he could use it as preparation for his Under-23 squad’s Nations Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe in September.

While not all that happy with the result, Notoane was nevertheless positive of turning it around, especially because of the two away goals his team has in the bag.

The second leg is scheduled for Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto on Sunday.

Notoane also had to deal with several withdrawals before the Lesotho game, with clubs refusing to release their players because the PSL season kicks off this weekend.

The coach, though, was not deterred by any of this and prepared the team as best he could with the players at his disposal. Despite the defeat, he was only intent on focusing on the positives.

“Of course, I’m disappointed because you always want to win as a coach,” said Notoane. “To be honest, I thought we could have come away with a 2-2 draw. But it was a tough game.

“On the balance of where we are, though, with the two away goals, it does give us some confidence going into the second leg that we can turn the tie around.

“Overall, the game raised a few things we have to look in to. Defensively, we allowed two soft goals – the penalty was soft and the third goal was soft.

“But they are young boys, they are learning, and we want to see if they are ready for senior football. I thought the Lesotho game gave us such a challenge.”

Looking ahead to Sunday’s second leg, Notoane knows he has a few things he needs to work on.

“We put a lot of structure into what we wanted to do, both defensively and offensively,” said the coach.

“Two days of preparation for the game was not enough. Towards the end of the game, you could see the energy levels dropping. Lesotho put more pressure on us, and we cracked. But that’s not an excuse…

“Before the game, we spoke about the critical phases of the match, that International games are determined by those phases. And yet we conceded during those phases – five minutes into the match and five minutes five before the end.

“It means that our concentration levels and mental toughness will have to improve going into the second leg.”

In partnership with ANA and Mediapix

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